Jan 22nd, 2009
President Obama’s Inaugural speech spoke both of bold and swift action, as well as a promise to align our nation’s protection with the ideals that underpin American society.
In that spirit, the President ordered the closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison within a year. He also ordered a review of military trials and interrogation methods, noting that the government would continue to fight terror without abandoning American “values and ideals.”
Guantanamo has been a hot-button issue since its 2002 inception; our own catalogue has a variety of Guantanamo t-shirts, the vast majority of which align with the new President’s stated ideology behind its closure.
The controversy surrounding the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp will now most likely shift to the wisdom in its shuttering and the question of what to do with the prisoners, some of whom may be potential or previous terrorists. Gitmo houses 245 prisoners; most of them have been held for years without an official charge or trial. Complaints of abuse have been rampant, and one can only assume that those who weren’t guilty of terrorist activity aren’t likely to be feeling warm and fuzzy towards the United States after being imprisoned for the past several years.
Many agree that the key to this difficult task is finding foreign nations to absorb many of the detainees. Switzerland has offered up agreement to take some of the prisoners, while other nations have been more reluctant to cooperate – some simply deny that a particular prisoner is a citizen, and others just don’t want them back. Overall, Europe is thus far the most vocally supportive partner in the Obama effort to honor his pre-Inaugural promise to end the Gitmo era.
So: should Gitmo be closed? Should the prisoners be released? Should a World Court be set up so that we can globally partner to prosecute suspected terrorists and war criminals in a manner that’s consistent with maintaining basic human rights and the ideals of civilized societies? Or is it too much of a risk to try to maintain these ideals with people who, by nature of the definition of “terrorist,” don’t share them?
All these questions and more are up for serious debate. Feel free to state your own opinion – whether here or via a t-shirt.